When Bret Hart was announced for a weekend of independent shows in England, he said he wasn’t coming alone.
For the past few weeks, 1 Pro Wrestling (1PW) out of Doncaster, England had been promoting the “mystery wrestler” that Bret was bringing over to face Jeff Jarrett on their “No Turning Back” weekend on January 6 and 7. Speculation had been running wild over just who would be making that trip, with a variety of names from the independent scene all thrown into the mix.
A sell-out crowd of 1,700 packed in the Doncaster Dome to find out who the mystery man was, and it was none other than Calgary’s own Harry Smith. This was Harry’s second time in England, having wrestled for the Kent-based IPW:UK promotion last July.
Having flown almost 8,000 miles from Calgary to Doncaster, Harry lost his first match on Friday night, but put on a good showing against the NWA champion, taking Jarrett’s figure-four leglock before almost getting the win with the move that his father made famous -– the running powerslam. In the end, Jarrett took the dubious pinfall victory after smashing Harry over the head with a chair.
Saturday saw Harry involved in a question and answer session during 1PW’s Fan Slam festival, where he talked about topics ranging from the pressure of having to live up to his father’s fame, to his pre-match work-out routine.
Inevitably, Harry was also asked about his short-term future, with speculation over him joining WWE never too far away. As he has done in the past, Harry refused to commit either way, but said that he would be in WWE sooner, rather than later. Will this turn out to be Harry’s last appearance on UK soil before joining WWE? Time will tell.
Although he wasn’t advertised for a match on the evening show, Smith found himself able to showcase his skills to the sell-out Doncaster crowd, as he faced off with Doug Williams –- who himself was without a match, following the withdrawal of his scheduled opponent, Homicide, through a shoulder injury.
Smith and Williams put on a nice scientific wrestling match, which was a pleasant change in a card that was peppered with aerial and hardcore action. Throughout the match, the tempo –- and impact –- of each men’s moves increased, with “The Anarchist” recovering from a jumping armbar off the top, to plant the Stampede Bulldog with his Bomb Threat top rope knee drop.
Williams kept trying to go for his finisher -– the Chaos Theory (two German suplexes rolled through), but in the end he was unable to hit it, as Harry finally managed to pull off the running powerslam, to a huge pop from the Doncaster crowd, before planting Williams with a sit-out powerbomb for the win.
Also on the weekend’s shows, Jerry Lynn, Abyss, Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe, Steve Corino, AJ Styles, Sterling James Keenan and Darren Burridge won matches that earned them spots in a one-night tournament to determine 1PW’s first World champion. That tournament will be held on Saturday March 4, again at the Doncaster Dome in England, as a part of their “All or Nothing” weekend of shows, which will also feature Christian Cage, Rhino and Scorpio.
Ian Hamilton is from Sunderland, England, and attended his first 1PW show on January 7. He’s got over 160 photos of the show online at mackemman.co.uk -– and he still can’t stop laughing at the image of Tracy Smothers in a glittering dress…